Joe Root’s day four cameo shows he is a master craftsman at his pinnacle | Andy Bull


He added just 13 runs to his overnight total in the second Test against New Zealand, but still displayed all his class

“Now this is the life,” sighed the old man behind me in the Radcliffe Road stand. It cost £40 to get in on Monday, and you got a lot for the money, Jimmy Anderson’s 650th Test wicket, a back-of-the-hand run out by Ben Stokes, three different fifties, and best yet, a 20-minute stretch watching Joe Root finish his latest masterpiece innings. Root only made 13 runs on top of his 163 from the previous evening but if it was all you watched you would still have left happy. If the price seems steep for such a brief bit of cricket, I promise it was worth every penny and more for a glimpse of him in this sort of form.

Right now Root is batting as well as any Englishman ever has, better, even, than he did last year when broke all England’s records and scored 1,708 runs and six Test centuries. You have to leaf back through an awful lot of copies of the Wisden Almanac to find the last time there was anything quite like it in English cricket, past Ian Bell reeling off three centuries in the 2013 Ashes, past Kevin Pietersen spraying switch hits and reverse sixes around the grounds in the 2007, past Michael Vaughan’s 900-run summer in 2002, and further still, past Graham Gooch’s 333 in 1990, and David Gower carving up Australia in the 1985 Ashes. Maybe just keep going all the way until you reach Denis Compton’s record-breaking year in 1948.

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Written by Andy Bull at Trent Bridge
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